Description of Research
Geomicrobiology group aims to decipher fundamental processes occurring in living and fossil microbial systems focusing on extreme environments and their astrobiological relevance. The analytical techniques applied in most of the projects tie together the disciplines of mineralogy, biogeochemistry and molecular biology. Such a multidisciplinary approach is the best way to understand ecology of microbial systems and obtain a closer look into the mechanisms microbes use to survive in a salty desert, within a hydrothermal system, or deep under the surface, which are some of the environments currently being investigated.
We are using our field areas as terrestrial analogs to, mainly, Martian environments. Studies of terrestrial analogues offer natural systems that in some way resemble particular planetary or solar system settings. Terrestrial analogues help to define important technical and scientific parameters for space flight missions. Since the days of Apollo terrestrial analogue sites have been used to train astronauts, test instruments, train science teams and help unravel the science questions behind mission goals. Many of terrestrial analogue field sites have been used to mimic geological or environmental settings of the planetary bodies such as Mars in our current research.